President Donald Trump is in Japan for the G20 Summit. Though he’ll be meeting with a bevy of world leaders, the most anticipated meeting—with Russian President Vladimir Putin—has already made waves.
In addition to jokingly telling Putin not to meddle in the United States’ 2020 election (the way Russia did in 2016), Trump joked about “getting rid” of journalists, invoking one of his favorite terms.
As Jennifer Jacobs documented:
Trump also bonded with Putin over a scorn for journalists.
“Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.”
“We also have,” Putin answered, in English. “It’s the same.”
They shared a chuckle. pic.twitter.com/atGGYxnwfc
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) June 28, 2019
Trump laughingly said:
“Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do.”
“We also have,” Putin responded. “It is the same.”
The exchange is unsettling for a particularly grim reason, as New York Times White House Correspondent Maggie Haberman and others pointed out.
It’s funny because in Russian journalists are murdered, get it? https://t.co/khkiy5H7Zy
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 28, 2019
Hahaha MURDER hahaha
— TyleRVA (@TMoneyFoReaaal) June 28, 2019
putin murders journalists.
he also murders innocent russian children. pic.twitter.com/jjeBaBTp4w
— julie | trump is a #PutinPuppet (@stuffjuliesays) June 28, 2019
In Russia accent, "We also have problem, but then they disappear."
— Danny (@Danny61392) June 28, 2019
It’s incredible that this doesn’t end Trump. I’ve thought that about 50 things, but it’s still incredible. Read that exchange, with PUTIN(!), a guy who has literally killed journalists!!!
— Jones (@white_jones33) June 28, 2019
Though he denies it, Putin routinely had journalists who accurately covered his regime killed, grouping them with dissenters. In 2015 Russia ranked 180 out of 199 countries for press freedom according to watchdog group Freedom House.
Trump made the remarks exactly one year after the Capital Gazette shooting.
One year ago today, 5 journalists were murdered at the Capitol Gazette. https://t.co/RgzxgjaB56
— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) June 28, 2019
Today, on the anniversary of the Capital Gazette shooting Trump joked with Putin about how he needed to “get rid” of journalists. A new Trump rock bottom. This is an assault by Trump on all Americans. It’s disgusting and he shouldn’t be president. He’s betrayed all of us.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) June 28, 2019
I should not be surprised. Nothing should surprise me anymore. But of course, of course, OF COURSE he said "get rid of them" about journalists on the one-year anniversary of a deranged shooter killing five people at the Capital Gazette. https://t.co/YvXn0f0G0r
— Adam Zielonka (@Adam_Zielonka) June 28, 2019